‘Snow blindness’ spreads in newsrooms

Hiding in plain sight: The coldest start of a year in the Northern Hemisphere population centers has gone largely unnoticed by the mainstream press. Here, on Monday, South Koreans traipse through the heaviest snowstorm since records have been kept. Chosun.com photo by Newsis.

Somewhere along the way, mainstream journalism lost its way regarding climate. Journalists at the top of their game and the top of their field, lacking nothing for resources or good intentions, lost the ability to see winter, even when it was right in front of their noses.

Beyond being of interest to those who follow the media, this modern form of “snow blindness” is actually dangerous. For snow and cold are killers. Britain maintains records on cold-related deaths, which, predictably, fall disproportionately among the elderly. In that single European nation, more than 300,000 people have died during winter during the decade just ended. Tallies in the rest of Europe are similar. As for the winter just begun, it is likely to be especially deadly.

While few single weather events, months of extreme temperatures, years of abnormal temperatures, or even decades of the same can be called a change in climate without someone calling foul, the mainstream media has again and again used warm-weather events as proofs of the global warming that it would convince us of. Wildfires, Katrina, heat waves, floods, all have been laid at the feet of this modern bogeyman.

That is why the blogsosphere has come to play a vital role for those interested in both weather and climate. Sites such as wattsupwiththat.com raise the hackles of global-warming alarmists simply by reporting weather news that the mainstream media misses. While there have been many instances of “warmist” bias and “snow blindness” in the past several years, not one compares with the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2009-10.

The opening bell was a snowstorm that blanketed Colorado in October before dusting New England during a couple of notable sports events, including a nationally televised New England Patriots football game and the relatively invisible yearly rowing regatta, the Head of the Charles, with crews rowing through the heaviest snowfall ever witnessed in the 40-year-old event. While the United States, with just 4 percent of the Earth’s land mass, does not represent the wider world, it was nonetheless worth mentioning that October was the third coldest month, in our neck of the woods, ever recorded. Had the opposite been true, with the third warmest October ever seen, you can rest assured that The New York Times and other newspapers of national significance would have had the story prominently featured (rather than buried or, worse, never written at all).

After a warm November in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe (a blip of warmth attributable to the moderate El Niño in the Pacific), December started cold and stayed cold – and snowy. One ironic emblem of the weather was that of President Obama departing earlier than planned from the climate conference in Copenhagen in order to be able to touch down in Washington, D.C., before a raging blizzard made landing Air Force One impossible. The New York Times Times’ initial article about the president’s change in plans mentioned that it was a snowstorm forcing the hasty departure; later versions of the article changed the word simply to “storm.” What is this, if not an example of “snow blindness”?

Since the Blizzard of ’09, though, things have become even more serious. The sustained, aggressive cold has killed hundreds in Asia, from India to Japan, with snowfall records tumbling left and right including one in Seoul, South Korea, and another in Beijing. The state of Vermont had its single heaviest snowstorm ever from January 3 to 5. Unless a news consumer assiduously looked for this information, though, it was suspiciously easy to miss.

Journalists, needless to say, are entitled to their view that summer is perilous and worthy of greater attention than winter (although millions of people living in the Northern Hemisphere snow belt on fixed incomes would beg to differ). But this apparent preference of incipient warming has led to some bizarre instances of “journalism.” As recently as ten years ago, the UK newspaper The Independent warned its readers with the headline: “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” Meanwhile, municipalities throughout the United Kingdom have struggled to keep up with ice- and snow-covered roadways for the last two winters. The current winter will be remembered, too, for the glamorous Eurostar train being shut down for the first time ever, stranding tens of thousands, due to snow being sucked into the mouth of the tunnel on the French side of the English Channel.

Skeptic bloggers like to joke that “If it’s warm it’s climate, if it’s cold it’s weather.” As the dust from Climategate settles (with still not one e-mail published by The New York Times, in contravention of the paper’s own policy laid down during the Pentagon Papers-era), people around the world have begun to question the means by which a “global mean temperature” is computed. While a single harsh winter does not represent the Earth’s climate as well as other, longer-term metrics, palpable cold and cascading snow are, nonetheless, the kind of things that the average news consumer, surely, would like to know exist.

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About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
This entry was posted in Climate change, global cooling, global warming, weather, winter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to ‘Snow blindness’ spreads in newsrooms

  1. Otter says:

    Snow blindness will continue until the right scapegoats can be found… and the sacrifice to the global-warming gods will have to be paid in the hundreds of scientists and reporters, if not thousands.

  2. toryaardvark says:

    Nowhere is there more snow blindness than at the BBC, who change the headlines on their web sites to ensure they dont blaspheme against the Chuch of Climatology.

    In a new twist they have started pushing the AGW agenda in fictional programs:

    http://toryardvaark.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/how-the-bbc-responds-to-climate-change-bias-complaints/

    They are also pushing AGW on their radiio stations

    • Boudu says:

      Toryaardvark is spot on. The BBC are so partial on the subject, to the point of embarrassment. My wife and I often have a sweepstake while listening to BBC Radio 4 – how many minutes before the mention of ‘Climate Change’
      We never have to wait long.

      The agenda they push is so Pro-AGW that when I occasionally see or hear a contrary viewpoint on the Beeb I do a double-take.

      The AGW horse is dead. Of that there is no doubt even if the body still twitches now and then. However the BBC (and most of the main stream media) are still cracking their warmist whips desperately hoping that the beast will stand once more

      As my mother used to say ‘There’s none so blind as them as won’t see’

  3. truth is much more fascinating than the fiction from the agw camp with their benevolent lies. The truth of very cold weather at present is a strong indication even more so of the lies and corruption of the Hadley, CRU and NASA climate data as it propagated the man made climate change myth they pushed so feverishly.

  4. Jim Watson says:

    I strongly suggest to all of you pro-AGW “journalists” out there to go look yourselves in the bathroom mirror and ask yourselves just exactly why you got into journalism in the first place.

    Was it to report the news? Or was it change the world to your liking?

  5. Alex says:

    I am old enough to remember, during the Soviet era, the soviet republic’s media’s weather reports being modified to suit the regime. We’re back to that era, only its not the soviet union, but the USA.

  6. Well the Eurotrain services are all running today, because I’ve just got back from Cologne. They’re just reduced which makes them safer but doesn’t cancel the services altogether. The main St Pancras website, and all the other station websites say all the info.

  7. Rusell C says:

    It appears news journalists don’t want to interview skeptic scientists because it creates the appearance of a “false balance”……….
    “The lack of climate skeptics on PBS’s ‘Newshour’ “: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/12/the_lack_of_climate_skeptics_o.html

  8. its really nasty in some area’s right now

  9. Not Jack says:

    If AGW fails to occur, and if in fact it actually gets noticeably colder over the long term, the Warmers will lose all credibility. They know it. They also know that if they change their mind publicly now they will lose all credibility.

    But some of them, like the BBC are post modern journalists, and if they believe in AGW enough, and convince enough people that it is getting warmer, AGW will in fact happen.

    Post moderns have a reality problem.

  10. Keith says:

    Don’t just blog, use word of mouth too, but be prepared to be shouted at.
    Many ordinary folk have accepted not just the AGW idea but the over hyped tales of doom: meters of sea rise, droughts, floods, deaths…arghhh the sky is falling.
    AGW seems to be some form of collective lightning rod for social guilt over consumption, luxury, etc Vs third world poverty etc. So sad that hunting the snark of CO2 reduction will waste trillions, destroy economies and divert attention from solvable problems!
    Keep complaining to the MSM. I live in UK and despair of the BBC tho’

  11. Roger Hall says:

    It is not Media blindness but deliberate propaganda in pursuit of a wider agenda. These journalists probably do not care one way or the other if Global Warming is a great lie but they understand that it is a useful vehicle for a revolutionary and unpopular political program. It is the property of the Media Class and its Leftist allies and can be used to drastically expand Government control over the individual, redistribution of wealth by Government and progress to World Government.
    As with all Leftist programs, the restrictions on the freedom of the masses does not apply to the rulers, in this case the Showbiz world, the politicians of the Left and the rest of the Media Class. Read http://www.radical-and-right.org for more.

  12. George Patton says:

    Reporters are liars. They are taught to lie to the public. They influenece the public. They influence the public policy discussion. They are agenda driven. They do not care about the facts. They care about their friends in the media, in government, and in academia. The four corners of the universe of deception: academia, government, media, and science. Never believe the media. They are corrupt and dishonest. They are amoral. They have no character. They are dishonest. They are corrupt. Reporters blow. DISHONEST AND CORRUPT.

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